Lambert Potteries Ltd.

 

Dates: 1945-1971 [Vancouver] 1972-1979  [Sardis, BC]

Location: 4316 Fraser Street, Vancouver, B.C.; 2nd location: 2910 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.

People:  David Lambert – retired Canadian soldier, member of the British Ceramic Society, established the first commercial production pottery in Vancouver, BC, designer of kilns, considered the ‘god-father’ of BC pottery industry, part-time teacher at Vancouver Art School, one of the originators of the BC Potters Guild

The Beginning: Lambert Potteries Ltd. began by producing similar items to pottery found in European countries. Lambert felt this needed to change; he was “in a new country doing a new thing in that country.” At the time, there was no established or indigenous BC ceramics or pottery industry – First Nations Coastal peoples did not make pottery; rather they used natural elements such as cedar bark for utilitarian and ritual wares – and only a few amateur BC potters used local clay as it was too expensive to import from Medicine Hat, AB and Saskatchewan. David Lambert realized the need to create pottery that represented BC’s coastal culture – he began to create “something that would be new and yet old at the same time”, pottery that represented the regional system, something that could be recognized as “truly pertaining to the country in which we live.” He incorporated West Coast first people’s designs used on everyday objects onto pottery and created WEST COAST INDIAN DESIGNS ON HAND MADE POTTERY.

Pottery

1a: Sample of West Coast Indian designs

West Coast Indian designs

Clay
1945-1960: china clay from Giscombe Rapids, Fort George, BC; deposits of red clay from clay pits in the Fraser Valley; iron-bearing earths from local deposits, traditional sources for ceramics-grade clay

Techniques
Varied – a hybrid of industry and handicraft: pottery thrown on a potter’s wheel, jiggered on a jigger (a type of mould-making process), hand pressed into shapes, hand painted designs by Lambert and employees, fired, glazed, re-fired, cooled.

Forms
Plates – 7”, 9”, 12”
Bowls – small, multi-use, thrown bowls, egg-cups
Cream & sugar sets
Jugs – beverage
Mugs – wheel thrown beakers, coffee mugs, steins

Designs
West Coast Indian Designs were inspired by West Coast First Nations images.

Lambert found that the best results came about if the pottery shape was formed to the design rather than the design modified for the shape. Design names from Lambert’s The Story of West Coast Designs:

Spindle Whorl design [Salish]

  1. Bear Crest [Tsimshian]
  2. Beaver [Haida]
  3. Cannibal Bird no.1 [Haida]
  4. Frog [Haida]
  5. Grizzly Head [Tlingit]
  6. Growing Nose Mask [Kwakiutl]
  7. Housk’ana, the Fisherman [Haida]
  8. Killer Whale [Haida]
  9. Killer Whale, Big Fin [Haida]
  10. Mosquito [Haida]
  11. Hooyah, the Raven [Ancient Haida]
  12. Raven [Kwakiutl]
  13. Raven Two-Winged [Unknown tribe]
  14. Raven as Thunderbird [Unknown tribe]
  15. Beaver [Tattoo mark, Haida]
  16. Thunderbird & Killer Whale [Haida]
  17. Ancient Thunderbird [Unknown tribe]
  18. Ancient Killer Whale [Unknown tribe]
  19. Ancient Sea-lion [Unknown]
  20. Dog Fish, Salmon [Tsimshian]
  21. Northern Killer Whale [Haida]
  22. Southern Killer Whale [Haida]
  23. Eagle [general use]
  24. Bear [Dance Mask, Kwakiutl]
  25. Sword Whale [Haida]
  26. Bear [Dance design, Hoorts]
  27. Eagle [Dance design]
  28. Bear [Totem, Haida]
  29. Dragonfly [Haida]
  30. Thunderbird [Carving design, Haida]
  31. Raven inside Killer Whale [Carving design, unknown]
  32. Bear [Dance design]
  33. Flicker (bird)  [Haida]
  34. Owl [Dance mask]
  35. Shaman’s Mask
  36. Many Figured Bear design
  37. Dragonfly [Simple tattoo]
  38. Thunderbird [Bella Bella?]
  39. Sea-wolf [Haida]

Designs not mentioned in D. Lambert’s published pamphlet, The Story of West Coast Designs: on Hand-made Pottery with 40 Authentic Stories and Myths of the Coast People [1960] – see Research page, Additional Resources

  • Little Stick Brewing Dance,1969
  • #38 Lightning Snake, 1972
  • #44 Man in the Moon, 1972
  • Wolf
  • Little Stick Hunts Belch the Bison David Lambert Sardis B.C. 1972 Canada
  • Little Stick Paternity Dance David Lambert 1978 Sardis B.C. Canada
  • Little Bear “David/65”; [imprinted] Lambert Potteries Ltd. Handpainted Vancouver, B.C.
1e. Lambert Potteries plates, #21 Killerwhale, #11 Raven, #30 Thunderbird, marks

Lambert Potteries marks

___________________________________________________________

Information taken from David Lambert’s pamphlet, The Story of West Coast Designs and Rachelle Chinnery’s article, “Significant Material: Ceramics of British Columbia 1945-1960”.

Check out Lambert Potteries Ltd. – Revisited.

Some photos used with permission by Rhode Island Internet Consignment & Sales (store: http://stores.ebay.com/WWolst12Store)


Comments

Lambert Potteries Ltd. — 34 Comments

  1. Pingback: Lambert Potteries Ltd. – Revisited | Canada Pottery

  2. After my mom passed away, I ended up with this vase “Killer whale #22” written on the bottom of it and was wondering if it is valuable? She never mentioned where she got it from and she had never been to BC (we lived in Ontario at the time). I now live in Revelstoke, BC and when unpacking just noticed what it said on the bottom. I never paid attention to that before. Thank you

    • Lambert Pottery pieces are one of the more valuable Canadian pottery collectibles. To get an idea of current prices, conduct an online search. Value, of course, is relative – it comes down to what someone will pay at any given time. Good luck in your search. Maria.

  3. Hello i have several pieces of Lambert Pottery .. I am also wondering about value…I would be willing to sell them as although I love them I collect so many other things I need to thin out my stuff. Any information would be appreciated.

    • Hi Janet. I’m afraid I do not do valuations on this site. The best way to find out what items are selling for is to look online. You will then have an idea of what you could ask – keep in mind shipping costs if you buyer is not local. I’m happy to post your comment – maybe someone reading this will contact you. Maria

      • Thank you Maria . I’ve searched online and your site is the only information I’ve found . I truly appreciate your help .

        • You are very welcome, Janet. I’m hoping to have more information up soon on other Canadian potteries, so keep coming back.

  4. dear maria,

    my name is Joyce VandeGriend and my mother who passed away, Trude VandeGriend was one of David’s handpainters, I have a collection of plates, mugs and her friend, Barbara Baanders who became her own Circle Craft Potter and did swimmingly! is still living in Richmond.
    i would be happy to document the pieces (some ashtrays as well and a set of tiles that fit like a puzzle of a dogfish).
    it has been a delight to find you and i hope we can meet as i have just moved back to Vancouver.
    gratefully,

    joyce

    • Joyce, how interesting to hear from you! I would love the details of your mother’s work with David, such as when she worked with him, any details of her work life, etc. Thank you for the offer to document your pieces. It would be great to have the information. If you could provide pictures of the front and back of the items, I will create a gallery for your Lambert Potteries pieces. This is excellent! I had no idea David produced ashtrays and puzzle tiles. This is great info to add to the site. If I ever make it our to Vancouver, I may take you up on your offer to meet. Thanks for getting in touch. Maria

    • What mugs do you have? Are you looking to sell any of them? I’m looking for a bigger mug, a Stein, with a bird on it, preferably an Eagle, as I’m trying to replace a special one that broke.

      • Hi Melissa. I do not personally have any mugs for sale. Keep checking back – people will post here if they have some for sale. Maria

  5. Hello my name is Rhonda. I have 5 plates done by lambert potteries.
    I have plate number 2 .. 3 .. 11 .. 18 and 21.
    I have had them for a long time but no nothing about them. I do not know if they are worth anything. I was wondering if you could help me. I realize you can’t give a exact amount without seeing them. I believe myself they are in very good condition. I however again just wish too know how much they are if they were in the condition they need to be. I have no email so if you could post your thoughts on here I would be grateful

    • Hi Rhonda. Your plates are definitely worth something! I don’t believe one pattern or number is more collectible than another, so values will be about the same for all of them. Values for plates range from about $25.00-$65 a piece, if not more, and whether you get that amount for them is really based on the condition of the plates and what the collector is willing to pay for them. You have the start of a nice collection of Lambert Potteries pieces yourself!

  6. I found a “QLHIYO THE ANCIENT SEALION” bowl at a garage sale. The bottom has DAVID LAMBERT VAN 1967 B.C. CANADA. Is this a valuable piece?
    OLHIYO The Ancient Sea Lion dish-front OLHIYO The Ancient Sea Lion dish-front OLHIYO The Ancient Sea Lion dish-mark

    • Jason, value is relative. Lambert Potteries Ltd. is one of the more sought after British Columbia and Canadian potteries. David Lambert’s West Coast native style is popular with Canadian pottery collectors and with collectors of West Coast style, in general. Condition is everything, though. If your bowl is in near mint to mint condition – that is with no chips, no cracks, no crazing, no pinholes, no light glaze spots or wear, no damage of any kind – then your piece has the potential to increase in value as David Lambert, the artist, and Lambert Potteries Ltd., the pottery, become more well known. I do not do evaluations – this is a research site only. To that purpose, I would love to add a picture of your piece and the bottom mark to my site for other collectors – contact me if you are willing. You’ve a great find there. Maria.

  7. Pingback: Follow this Lambert Potteries Pinterest Board | Canada Pottery

  8. Hello,

    I found an image of one of Lambert’s plates on pinterest and have trying to find out more information about the artwork. Its very similar the mascot of a Boy Scout camp I went to when I was younger. I’ve looked through The Story of West Coast Designs pamphlet but have been struggling to connect the design to one of the myths. I was hoping somebody could help me make the connection. Thanks,

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/499195939922154117/
    http://www.hahobas.org/images/HahobasBearSm.jpg
    http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/permalink/24745

  9. Happy to share photos, the only ones I have right now are of the Lambert plate beside another piece of shaman art. Where should I send?

    • I would be happy to take a look at it. Would you mind sending me photos? I would need to see a closeup of the image, a photo of any condition problems and I would like to see the back with the marks. If I personally do not want to purchase it, I can certainly post it here for you in case someone else is interested.
      Maria

    • Hi Robert. I believe Baiba Grube is looking for Lambert Potteries pieces and not Herta. Let me know if you have Lambert Pottery and I will pass your message along. Maria.

  10. I have a number of pieces of Lambert pottery, bought in 1962, most of them never used. I’ve had them in storage in Toronto for the last 50 years, but will be bringing them to Victoria when I move here next year.

    If you would be interested in seeing them, I’d be happy to show them to you (or email you photos) once I’m settled in BC, which should be spring of 2016.

    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,
      I would certainly be interested in seeing your Lambert Potteries items. It would most likely have to be photos by email as I live in Central Alberta. When you are settled, please let me know. And, if it is alright with you, I’d love to post any photos you’d like to share on my website.
      Thanks so much for contacting me. Please keep in touch,
      Maria Haubrich

    • Hi Sarah
      My father met David Lambert when he started his pottery and we have some pieces still in the family. If you would like to share photos of your collection I would be interested.
      Thanks
      Patrick Kennedy

      • My move to Victoria is scheduled for the spring of 2016. Sorry I can’t be more specific, but the builder hasn’t given me a firm date.

  11. I am wondering if you have any Lambert Pottery Ltd pieces for sale or if you know where some might be purchased?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Baiba,

      Thank you for your inquiry. I do not actually have any Lambert Potteries pieces for sale. Lambert Potteries Ltd pieces do come up for sale online from time to time, so just keep searching and watching for them.

      At the moment and for the next 12 days, eBay has a listing for a Lambert Potteries Ltd Raven Head dish. It ships from Ottawa, Canada. I do not endorse this seller or product, and my only intention is to make you aware of a piece currently for sale. Enter this phrase into http://www.ebay.ca – Vintage LAMBERT POTTERY dish RAVEN HEAD Haida Northwest Coast Vancouver B.C. [http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Vintage-LAMBERT-POTTERY-dish-RAVEN-HEAD-Haida-Northwest-Coast-Vancouver-B-C-/281727040255?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item41983d7aff] If you do not currently have an eBay account, you will need to create one in order to purchase the item.

      I hope this helps,
      Maria

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